Townsville - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Townsville


With a magnetic charm and dozens of fabulous attractions and golden sandy beaches, this laid-back little town in the heart of the tropics oozes with character and takes pride in being the unofficial capital of Queensland. Townsville is located on the shores of Cleveland Bay and with views of the picturesque and idyllic Magnetic Island in the distance it's not hard to see why people are so strongly drawn here. Townsville played an active role in the World War II when American and Australian troops were stationed here to cover the Pacific campaign. Japanese bombs were even dropped in the harbour in 1942 but thankfully, there was very little damage to this coastal city. Today an army of local and international tourists visit, drawn to the year round good weather and varied attractions to suit any inclination. Take a trip to the magnificent Magnetic Island to explore the National Park, or take the plunge and do some reef diving to discover the famous Yongala Wreck or Great Barrier Reef to the east. Back on land go on a 4x4 trip into the outback to the west, marvel at the magnificently verdant tropical rainforests dotted with waterfalls to the north, or visit the mango and sugar cane farms in the south. With numerous restaurants and bars, wonderful shopping opportunities and a quiet cosmopolitan feel, Townsville has something for everyone, though it should be noted that saltwater crocodiles are present in all swimming locations here, including the beach so caution should be exercised when swimming.

Information & Facts


With around 3,000 hours of sunshine a year Townsville experiences a tropical savannah climate. Its rainfall is not nearly as high as other tropical regions like Cairns, but with the majority of the rain falling in the 'wet season', which runs from November through April, and cool and mild winters that are moderated by the south easterly trade winds, Townsville still experiences very mild winters. July is the coldest month with average daily temperatures reaching 25°C (77°F). The summer months are warm and December is the hottest month with daytime temperatures soaring to 31.4°C (88.5°F). Townsville is prone to tropical cyclones between November and May which form mainly over the Coral Sea.

Getting Around

Townsville's public transport system incorporates bus services operated by Sunbus which provides regular and efficient services between major points throughout the city. Taxis are easily hailed and operate 24 hours a day throughout the metropolitan area. Ferries and vehicular barges operate regularly to Magnetic Island and Palm Island. Car rental agencies can be found in the city and travellers planning on exploring further afield should opt for a rental car.

English is the official language of Australia.

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Magnetic Island was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he believed that the landmass of the island affected the magnetic compass on his ship, 'Endeavour'. More than half of the island, which is about five miles (8km) from Townsville, is a National Park known for its rugged landscape with granite boulders, hoop pines and eucalyptus trees. The island has 23 beaches and bays, some of which can only be reached on foot. There are more than 12 miles (20km) of walking trails marked out on the island. Part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park fringes the island, which is also home to the most northerly colony of free-ranging koala bears in Australia. The island offers a wide range of accommodation. Local transport is available on the island.

This fun museum is interactive and state-of-the-art, designed to tell stories of the high seas like that of HMS Pandora, the ship that captured the Bounty mutineers before coming to grief on the Great Barrier Reef in 1791. The museum also details the natural and human history of tropical Queensland, and there is a fun science centre included. The building is set on the water and includes a shop and cafe.

The largest living coral reef aquarium, the Reef HQ Aquarium was built as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Featuring 130 species of coral, 120 species of fish and plenty of star fish, sea urchins, sponges and sea cucumbers, Reef HQ also features a predator exhibit, a children's section, a gift shop and café to enjoy. A trip to the Reef HQ Aquarium is a must for all visitors who plan on taking a reef dive at the Great Barrier Reef to learn more about the species of marine life they might encounter while on their dive.

This riverfront parkland that stretches along 6.8 miles (11km) of the Ross River with nodes at Pioneer Park, Loam Island, Apex Park and the Ross River Dam. It has fast become one of Townsville's most popular tourist attractions. Pioneer Park is where visitors can enjoy activities such as sport, entertainment, performing arts, visual arts, swimming in the two huge lagoons, dining and shopping at the village precinct and even picnicking and barbecuing along the picturesque shores of the Ross River.

This 1.3-mile (2.2km) long tropical beach and palm tree-dotted promenade is one of Townsville's most popular attractions. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll, enjoy the scenery from their bicycles, take a dip at one of the safe swimming beaches or enjoy a picnic overlooking the ocean at one of the many designated picnic areas in the gardens. Families travelling with their children in tow can visit the nearby water park, while the trendy restaurants and bars that line the strip make a wonderfully romantic and picturesque setting at any time of day with views stretching out over Magnetic Island. The fourth Friday of each month also sees Strand Park used for night markets - a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs such as Aboriginal arts and crafts and boomerangs.

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